Forwarding Address: OS X

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Flash "performance"

I'm only using a lowly 867MHz Powerbook here, but nonetheless I think that a Flash ad embedded in a web page sitting in the background shouldn't be using 65% of my CPU. That's just insane. Before I get into a full-fledged rant about this, I just wanted a reality check: it's not just me, right? When you load several web pages with Flash ads on them, what do you see for CPU usage? (I'm focusing on ads here because that's when this drain is really annoying -- I should be able to leave a page open without it bringing my machine to a crawl. When watching Flash movies or whatever, I care less because I'm not trying to do anything else at the same time.)


  • You could try to use the new 8.0 version which uses Quartz Extreme. Quite a speed improvement here...

    By Anonymous, at 8:47 AM  

  • Cool, thanks. That does seem better, though still relatively piggy. It's difficult to quantify because the CPU usage jumps around -- in fact, I think it jumps around more with 8.0 than it did before (a good thing -- the peaks are about the same, but the lows are lower).

    By pbx, at 9:37 AM  

  • This is why, to the chagrin of my Flash-wielding coworkers, I never browse without Flashblock installed in Firefox:

    By l.m.orchard, at 11:36 AM  

  • Does it use the CPU in a hidden tab?

    I noticed that in Safari, animations and videos don't start to play in background tabs until you view the tab. Maybe hiding it makes it go dormant?

    By Michael Z., at 3:40 PM  

  • I've had the same problems you've had. I have a very nice menubar widget which shows me how my franken-pismo (550 mhz g4, 768mb ram) rockets up to 100% cpu usage sometimes with one flash ad, much less 4 on one page, which happens sometimes. As someone else observed in the comments, Safari at least does you the favor of not starting to run the flash until you've hit that tab.

    I'm afraid my solution was to switch to primarily using Firefox with the AdBlock plugin. I let the browser download the ads, but then don't display them, and have a couple dozen wildcard rules for blocking obnoxious sites. It makes web browsing a much more relaxing experience.

    By Michael H., at 12:30 PM  

  • Same problem with my 800MHz powerbook, though Safari tends to be better at handling flash than Firefox. FF gets almost unuseable.

    Think I'll try upgrading to 8.0.

    By Anonymous, at 10:47 PM  

  • It must be nightmare for web browser developers too.

    As Macromedia flash is a plugin, when it hogs CPU (yes 8 too), CPU usage shows as the browser it is running in.

    So, guy sees "Omniweb 60%" CPU and being not very advanced, he thinks the browser is eating CPU while it's "flashy" flash ad in the www page he is viewing.

    "disabling" it... Well, better Macromedia fix it instead of users disable it.

    They are running it in one of most advanced 2d accelerated OS in history of IT.

    By Ilgaz, at 7:05 AM  

  • By Anonymous, at 5:06 PM  

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